Reed Travel Features
ST. JOHN'S -- An Antigua government report about a recently
signed proposal to build a major new resort complex and recreation
facility calls the project a "shot in the arm" for the tourism
The plan calls for the building of a $200 million facility,
including 1,000 hotel rooms, which would increase the islands'
hotel inventory by more than 33%.
The island's active room inventory currently stands at 3,000
units, according to the report.
The report refers to Antigua's existing tourism plant as
"time-worn and inadequate" and says that, ideally, the country
needs 6,000 rooms and 11,000 beds "if it is to remain competitive
going into the 21st century."
The creation of a 36-hole golf course, a casino, recreation and
water-sports areas also are stipulated in the report, and most of
these would be developed on the uninhabited Guiana Island.
Malaysian developer Dato Tan Kay Hock signed a deal in February
with the Antigua government to develop the site, according to David
Fernandez, director in North America for the Antigua & Barbuda
Department of Tourism, located in New York.
The property slated for development lies mainly on Guiana
Island, which is located about 100 yards off the Antigua coast,
The island currently serves as farmland and as a preserve for
the endangered fallow deer as well as for tropical birds.
Up to 1,000 hotel units will be built in several resort areas
along the length of Guiana Island, all connected by a main access
road, according to the government's report on the project.
Most of the development will occur along the island's northern
tip and eastern side because these are the areas with beaches,
according to the report.
Completion of the first phase of development is slated for
December, Fernandez said.
Plans also call for the building of a casino, retail shops and
residential developments on "the chain of small uninhabited islands
É winding its way further south," according to the report.
The island chain referred to in the report includes Lobster
Island, Red Head Island, Exchange Island, Pelican Rock, Lands End
Island and Hells Gate Island.
According to the report, these islands suffered a loss of trees
and severe erosion of soil and beaches following Hurricane Luis in
The project calls for the building of artificial beaches around
the island chain.
This property was purchased by the government from private
owners at a cost of about $5 million, he said, and then leased to
A bridge will be built to allow access to the island and into
the resort areas.
The project is the first major resort construction plan proposed
in Antigua since the Jumby Bay project on Long Island in the
Officials from the ministry of tourism in Antigua could not be
reached for comment on the project.